Image for Macklemore: Why I wrote Same Love

Macklemore: Why I wrote SameLove

They’ve just hit #1 on the ARIA charts with pro-equality single Same Love, and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s local fans can celebrate when the duo head to Australia this February.

Having taken the world by storm with their debut disc, The Heist, Macklemore, real name Ben Haggerty, chatted to Same Same about the inspiration behind the album’s poignant songs.

“Same Love was a song that I wanted to write for a long time but I didn’t know exactly how to address the issue,” he explains. “I knew I wanted to write a song about gay rights and homophobia within the hip-hop community and the world.”

Macklemore, whose uncle is gay, said it wasn’t just the issue of marriage equality that fueled the song, but also the flagrant use of ‘gay’ as a derogative term in the hip-hop industry, and the world.

“I knew I wanted to write a song about gay rights and homophobia within the hip-hop community and the world.”

“A couple of years ago, Ryan and I would say ‘that’s gay’ because it’s so embedded in our culture,” he admits. “You have a conversation with a couple of people and they kinda call you out about it and all of a sudden you stop saying it.”

The musician believes it’s only a matter of time before rappers and hip-hop artists stop using words like ‘faggot’ and ‘that’s gay’ as just another lyric.

“I think it’s happening right now… It takes a little while, but eventually you eliminate that type of vocabulary from your everyday life and I think that hopefully that is what a song like Same Love does, that it makes people second guess their language.

“From the people that come to our shows, a lot of feedback from them is, ‘I used to say those words, not I think twice, now I don’t say them anymore.’ It’s really about awareness.”

While more and more pro-gay music artists are coming out, Same Love marks the first time a male mainstream hip-hop artist has rapped positively about homosexuality.

Ellen DeGeneres is a fan, saying “no other artists in hip-hop history have ever taken a stand defending marriage equality the way they have.”

Macklemore says the reception has been ‘overwhelmingly positive,’ but that there are sadly always going to be people that disagree.

“If you go on YouTube, you’re going to see people who don’t agree with your stance,” he says. “They hate the song and they hate gay people… but in terms of from the press there wasn’t any backlash.”

He says he simply enjoys writing songs that get people thinking.

“I write songs that challenge myself, they challenge listeners, they might be controversial to some people, songs that push the boundaries of what a rap song sounds like or the subject matter that might be in a rap song.”

Back when he wasn’t selling #1 albums or making history, Macklemore always knew he was a performer and believed he was destined to be on stage.

“I was a crazy little dude who was always dressing up in, you know, my mum’s clothes and I’d go out and draw on myself, wear capes, and paint my face and I was just a performer as a kid.

“I always loved hip-hop music, ever since I was seven years old. That was my main love in terms of music so it seemed like the right thing to do was to start rapping.”

Macklemore’s influences were many, including the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson, but he smiles when he recalls how much his musical tastes have developed through the years.

“When I was a young kid it was all about MC Hammer, as a seven year old that’s what I wanted to be like. As I got older it kinda turned into West Coast gangsta rap, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and then that transition into Wu Tang.”

Now that he’s on his way Down Under for concerts next month, he says it’s always been his dream to visit Australia, and that doing it with his music is ‘a dream come true.’

“Being a musician, your goal in life is to get to a point where you can travel and play music. Australia has always been a destination I want to get to.”

Photo at top: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis by John Keatley

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Ethan4L said on the 23rd Jan, 2013

He seems like a really straightforward and honest guy. Coup that with the fact that he's willing to put out something with the song matter like this, when the music industry for the genre he's in tends to ignore this topic or react negatively to it; and I've gotta say I really respect him and the way he goes about putting out his views.

Nathan Sydney

Nathan Sydney said on the 27th Jan, 2013

A great song from an amazing guy - more power to you brother


MyHorseLikesYou said on the 27th Jan, 2013

You mean 2 amazing guys.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are legends.
Same Love is good but Wing$ has been on my all time favourite tracks list since I first heard it last year.
Crazy good quality tunes from these two. Can't wait for the shows.


Monononka said on the 29th Jan, 2013

"Oh, please, not another "my uncle is gay" line! We've heard "my gay sister" or "my gay friend" and "my gay uncle" but never "I'm gay". "

Ben's engaged to a girl he's been with for seven years so I'm pretty sure he's not gay, but I'm pretty sure that's not a problem, straight people can feel strongly about gay rights as well don't-cha-know. I don't think he'd be the type of person to hide if he was anyway, he's pretty damn honest in this album.


matt-rz said on the 6th Feb, 2013

@brian app: who gives a hoot whether they're straight, gay or anything in between? Rather than be cynical, maybe we should be grateful for our supporters, particularly the hetero ones who exist in a sub-culture where homophobia is rampant, who are willing to take a risk and speak up for our rights.


Shygrrl said on the 6th Feb, 2013

My (70yo) mother called me out to the car today and said..."do you know who sings this song, I love the lyrics they are so beautiful. "
She accepts me as queer, was at my commitment ceremony to my partner a few years back, and hates that same sex marriage isn't recognised as legal in this country. Thank you for your amazing talent.
Be brave, stand strong
KL Joy


MrAsh said on the 16th Mar, 2014

I finally read the lyrics of Same Love and they're very powerful! The words were certainly a contributing factor in changing my perspective on marriage equality.

A world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are
And a certificate on paper isn't gonna solve it all
But it's a damn good place to start
No law is gonna change us
We have to change us